HIFF Awards Announced!

Congratulations to this year’s talented filmmakers! HIFF is proud to announce this year’s jury selections, and we are honored to celebrate all the winners’ fresh voices and vital work.

The following awards were announced at Monday’s HIFF Awards Ceremony. See the entire list of HIFF 2015 Awards.

HIFF Competition Awards

Our Competitions Awards honor emerging directors from around the world in narrative feature, documentary feature, and short film competition sections. Juried by world-class filmmakers and industry professionals, these competitions represent the important, provocative premieres by cinema’s next wave of master filmmakers.

HIFF Award for Best Narrative Feature

WSJ-logo-read-ambitiously 150

Rams 650The HIFF Award for Best Narrative Feature Film rewards an emerging director with a film production package of in-kind goods and services, with a total value of over $125,000, and a cash prize of $3,000. We’re thrilled to highlight this year’s exciting and eclectic group of fresh talents. Sponsored by The Wall Street Journal

Winner: RAMS
Director: Grímur Hákonarson

Brothers Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) live side-by-side but have not spoken in forty years. Stubborn and competitive, they only communicate via handwritten notes delivered by their loyal sheepdog Somi. When a deadly virus threatens their prize-winning sheep and livelihood, they are forced to come together to save their unique family breed, and themselves, from extinction. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Award in Cannes, RAMS (Iceland’s submission for the Oscars®) details the hardships of daily farm work in remote Iceland with humanism and humor. Stunningly combining otherworldly landscapes and powerful performances, director Grímur Hákonarson expertly builds this gentle comedy to reveal a deeper and emotionally moving tale.

See an encore screening Monday at 4:30 pm.

Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature
, directed by Ciro Guerra

HIFF Award for Best Documentary Feature

ID_Logo 75Missing People 650The HIFF Award for Best Documentary Feature Film is selected from this year’s five award contenders by the documentary feature jury; the winner receives a film production package of in-kind goods and services, with a total value of over $80,000, and a cash prize of $3,000. Sponsored by Investigation Discovery (ID) Films.

Director: David Shapiro

Fifteen years after his debut film KEEP THE RIVER ON THE RIGHT, director David Shapiro returns to HIFF with MISSING PEOPLE. The documentary follows Martina Batan, the director of a prominent New York art gallery as she investigates her young brother’s long unsolved murder. At the same time, she obsessively researches and collects the work of New Orleans artist Roy Ferdinand whose paintings are known for their violent and graphic content depicting African American culture in pre-Katrina New Orleans. Martina’s journey is driven by both a hunger for closure and an inexplicable fascination with Ferdinand as an artist and as a loved one to a family she wedges herself into.

See an encore screening Monday at 2:00 pm.

Honorable Mention for Documentary Feature
, directed by Ilinca Calugareanu

HIFF Award for Best Short Narrative Film

Over-650The Narrative Short film winner will take home a cash prize of $500 and qualify for Academy Award® consideration. HIFF is proud of the many short film winners from past festivals that have gone onto successful careers and that have won Oscars. Recent shorts from the last few editions include the Oscar-winning films FEAST and THE PHONE CALL as well as the Oscar nominated films THE BIGGER PICTURE; BUTTER LAMP; GET A HORSE; PAPERMAN; ASAD; and HEAD OVER HEALS.

Winner: OVER
Director: Jörn Threlfall
Is this a murder, a hit-and-run, or just a big mystery? A crime scene told in reverse, OVER is a captivating puzzle with an unexpected outcome.

See an encore screening Monday at 4:30 pm.

Honorable Mention for Narrative Short Film
, directed by Eva Riley

HIFF Award for Best Short Documentary Film

Last-Day-of-Freedom-650The Documentary Short film winner will take home a cash prize of $500. HIFF is proud of the many short film winners from past festivals that have gone onto successful careers and that have won Oscars. Four shorts from recent editions were nominated for Academy Awards® in the short documentary category, including MONDAYS AT RACINE; OPEN HEART; KINGS POINT; and Lucy Walker’s THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM, which made its US Premiere at HIFF.

Directors: Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman

When Bill Babbitt realizes his brother Manny has committed a crime, he agonizes over his decision — should he call the police? A richly animated personal narrative, LAST DAY OF FREEDOM tells the story of Bill’s decision to stand by his brother in the face of war, crime and capital punishment.

See an encore screening Monday at 2:00 pm.

Victor Rabinowitz & Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice

Presented to a film that most exemplifies the values of peace, equality, global justice, and civil liberties. The award, which is accompanied by a cash prize of $1,500, is named in honor of two people who spent their entire lives fighting for those values. 

Selected and sponsored by the Louis M. Rabinowitz Foundation.

Uncondemned-650Winner: THE UNCONDEMNED

Directors: Michelle Mitchell, Nick Louvel
THE UNCONDEMNED tells the gripping and world-changing story of a group of young international lawyers and activists who fought to make rape a crime of war, and the Rwandan women who came forward to testify, to win justice, where there had been none. Up until this point rape had not been considered a war crime and was committed with impunity. A courtroom thriller, and personal human drama, THE UNCONDEMNED beautifully interweaves the stories of the characters in this odyssey, leading to the trial in the International Criminal Court — and the results that changed the world of criminal justice forever.

Tangerine Entertainment Juice Fund Award

Tangerine 150Honors a female narrative feature director with a cash prize of $1,000 and five hours of industry consulting. Supported by Tangerine Entertainment, a production company and community builder for films by women directors.

Suffragette-650Winner: SUFFRAGETTE

Director: Sarah Gavron
Inspired by true events, SUFFRAGETTE movingly explores the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote–their jobs, their homes, their children, and even their lives. Academy Award® nominees Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, and three-time Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep lead the cast of the powerful drama about the fight for equality in early-20th-century Britain. The stirring story centers on Maud, a working wife and mother who becomes an activist for the Suffragette cause alongside women from all walks of life. SUFFRAGETTE is directed by BAFTA Award winner Sarah Gavron and written by Emmy Award® winner Abi Morgan.